Defendant PI firm launches software tools to cut litigation


McCrudden: Litigation is reducing

A defendant personal injury firm has launched a set of software tools which it says will reduce litigation but give the firm “a bigger portion” of what remains.

Chris McCrudden, operations director at occupational disease specialist BC Legal, said clients were not charged for the tools, which provided an almost ‘end to end’ service and were “about generating goodwill”.

He went on: “Being a small, niche provider allows us to cater for clients’ needs better than other people. If a client says this will make things better for me, we just build it and release it.

“There are other tools in the market, but ours are more holistic, and we have created them in-house for almost every eventuality.

“Litigation is reducing. We can help the process by giving our clients all of this knowledge pre-litigation. The pie shrinks further, but this gives us a bigger portion of the remainder.”

BC Legal, set up in 2013, specialises in industrial diseases and has offices in Southend-on-Sea, Ipswich, Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff.

It opened a ‘knowledge hub’ in London in 2016, which provides clients with training and other free services alongside a small amount of fee-earning.

Mr McCrudden said the new software tools covered claim reserving, changes to the discount rate, breach of duty in asbestos claims, noise-induced hearing loss and quantum.

He said the “unique” asbestos tool would remove the need for insurers to research where a particular type of claim may have appeared in the past and make calculations based on how much exposure a worker may have had.

“Clients type in details of the claimant’s job and when the exposure was alleged to have happened, and they can immediately see a result.

“It allows clients to identify which claims should be paid quickly and which should be further investigated. It should help claims to be settled more quickly and more cheaply.”

Mr McCrudden said the quantum tool allowed schedules of loss to be created and previous versions to be saved, and could take into account changes in the discount rate.

“If there is a sign that the rate will change, with a few clicks you can see the implications as the system can create a new schedule for every possibility.

“This is the tool we’ve had the most take-up on, and in some ways is the one that can do the most.”

Mr McCrudden said the claim reserving tool analysed a client’s spending on claims to generate accurate reserving recommendations for new claims and allowed claims paid to be compared with reservations.

He said the noise-induced hearing loss tool used “sophisticated algorithms” to identify cases which might have a defence in terms of breach of duty.

Mr McCrudden said all the tools came with ‘analytics’ capabilities, allowing clients to monitor and manage market trends.

He added: “Insurance companies want to get a handle on their finances and give their employees more options pre-litigation before the need for expensive solicitors.

“These tools give the power to the client from the start of a claim to the conclusion. They can instruct us on the basis that they believe the claim actually needs litigation.”

In January, defendant firms Kennedys and Horwich Farrelly rolled out automation tools to cut costs for insurer clients, the former an extension of its ground-breaking ‘virtual defence lawyer’, KLAiM.

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